J.W. Childs targets $500 mln for Fund V

  • Fund IV targeted $450 mln, first fundraise since 2002
  • Firm raised $125 mln SPAC in 2010
  • Fund III restructured by CPPIB, Goldman in 2014

J.W. Childs Associates is back in market with its fifth fund targeting $500 million, a fundraising filing with the SEC shows.

A spokesman for the firm declined to comment. The previous vehicle, J.W. Childs Equity Partners IV, targeted $450 million, with at least $236 million raised as of May 2014. It isn’t clear how much the fund closed on.

Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, J.W. Childs was founded in 1995 by John W. Childs, formerly an executive at Thomas H. Lee Partners. The firm has invested mostly in middle-market consumer products and specialty retail businesses, including Joseph Abboud, Sunny D, Shoe Sensation and Mattress Firm.

J.W. Childs raised three funds, pooling around $3 billion in total, before running into trouble with Fund IV in 2007, when concerns about performance and deteriorating market conditions led the firm to suspend an attempted $2.5 billion fundraise.

Instead, J.W. Childs put together a $125 million special-purpose acquisition vehicle in 2010, which it used to buy stone tile retailer Tile Shop.

In 2014, the firm reached an agreement with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Goldman Sachs to restructure its $1.75 billion third fund. Five remaining portfolio companies, valued at around $1 billion, were transferred into a newly capitalized vehicle, with LPs either cashing out or rolling over their stakes. As part of the deal, CPPIB contributed an additional $119 million to Fund IV.

Recent J.W. Childs investments include a majority stake in EbLens, a retailer of urban-inspired footwear, apparel and accessories.

Action Item: Check out the Form D filing for J.W. Childs Equity Partners V here.

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